Well I’ve been very lax at updating this blog for the last month. It’s due to a combination of things, but mostly that we didn’t do a proper food shop last month. Instead our kitchen has been like a poor episode of ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’. Turns out there’s not much you can create with some vodka, an old onion and some jam…
Instead we’ve been a bit lazy and had simple things at home like pre-made tortellini and my absolute new favourite – Trofie with pesto and LOTS of parmesan.
I’d never heard of this type of pasta before, but it started getting advertised in food magazines and even Tesco Beirut (our affectionately named local store) stock it. It’s a sort of small, rolled shape and retains a bit of bite when you cook it which I like. And to make it even better, it takes 4 minutes to cook. Yum! I’ll also admit to a few naughty takeaways – although one was a celebration that our favourite Indian takeaway (Moza) which had closed down, has now miraculously reopened. Woop!!
So, onto the food we’ve had over the last month that I can remember… The whole purpose of this blog is to stop me forgetting what I’ve cooked, so I will definitely not leave it so long between updates from now on.
First up was Tuna Tartare Fishcakes from one of Olive Magazine’s brilliant mini supplements. This one was from p.40 of September 2011’s “£5 Suppers for Two”. Simple recipe that makes fishcakes from mashed potato, tartare sauce, spring onions and tinned tuna. Served with skinny French Fries and some green salad leaves. I absolutely loved this recipe and will definitely be doing this again – really simple, but really effective. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7/10
We also tried another recipe from the same supplement – Sausages with Boston Baked Beans on p.30. Again, a straight forward recipe that has absolutely become one of Reidbury’s Kitchen Classics! Cook sausages until browned all over. Remove and then add bacon, onion and carrots for a while before adding haricot beans, mustard, brown sugar, stock and tomato puree. Whack in the oven for 30 mins and it’s done. Fabulousness. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10
I also cooked a full on 3 course meal one Sunday afternoon. And afterwards Paul felt like it was Christmas Day – stuffed! Starter was Slow-Cooked Onion & Cider Soup with Gruyere Toasts from Delicious Magazine, November 2009 (9.86). This was followed by Nigella Lawson’s Roast Chicken from ‘How to Eat’ and her roasted garlic and shallots, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. All finished with Mulled Winter Fruit Crumble from Delicious Magazine, November 2009 (p.88). Here’s Paul about to tuck in!
Great meal – the soup was lovely and warming, and the gruyere toasts worked really well. The roast was as good as ever – although I do need to work on my portion control. I daren’t show the picture here as it literally fills the entire plate and looks a bit OTT! The dessert was a revelation – it’s a really clever way of rustling up a crumble using dried fruit instead of fresh. Kind of a store cupboard crumble recipe! You basically put dried fruits (cranberries/figs/sultanas etc) into a pan with red wine, a mulled wine sachet, orange zest, sugar and water and simmer for about 10 mins. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with the topping – simple blend of flour, mixed spice, sugar and butter. Bake in the oven and serve with ice cream, clotted cream or custard. Lovely! KB rating for the meal 8/10. PR rating 7.5/10
A less successful recipe was Devilled Turkey Koftes with Apple Salad from Delicious Magazine, September 2011 (p.20). Despite looking like a good recipe with lots of lovely flavours in the kofte, I felt the whole thing was a bit sloppy and disappointing! The flavour didn’t really pack the punch I expected either. Although the apple salad was a surprising start – will do that again. KB rating 5/10. PR rating 6/10.
So, moving on to something far better – my first foray into Hollandaise Sauce making! What a proud moment for a home chef when something that’s quite poncy-sounding turns out better than expected! The recipe was from Waitrose Kitchen magazine, September 2011 (p.104) and the picture on that page of hollandaise sauce draped over toasted English muffins, ham and poached eggs was enough to make me obsess about attempting it for 2 days! I was genuinely surprised that my first attempt worked so well – only thing to change would be to taste the sauce BEFORE adding any lemon juice. The vinegar was already pretty obvious, so I shouldn’t have been so heavy-handed with the lemon too! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.
Now I’m almost up to date. This week I’ve cooked a couple of things. The first being Rare Beef with Thai Herbs from Delicious Magazine, February 2006 (p.32). Goes to show how useful it is to keep back editions of food magazines as I was planning to do a beef roast. But then the mini October heatwave scuppered the plan so I went for this instead. It’s effectively a roasted joint of beef that’s been marinaded with sesame oil and soy sauce. You sear the meat in a pan before transferring to the oven. But the good bit is the 1 hour resting of the meat. Separately you make a dressing with shallots, chilli, spring onions, fish sauce, sugar, herbs (basil, coriander and mint), soy sauce and sesame oil and add the juices from the meat. This gets spooned over very thinly sliced rare beef. YUM! I served this with a sort of raw salad which I made up – I blanched sugar snap peas and tenderstem broccoli and then added these to yellow pepper and beansprouts which I dressed with some sesame and soy. A great way to get some vegetables into your life! KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10.
And something that I can’t believe I’ve not cooked before – Spaghetti alla Carbonara, from Olive Magazine, October 2011. Not much to say about this one really – just a classic! KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10
Finally, special mention to Paul’s curry that he made this month along with home made Chappatti’s. I knew the Curry Cooking Course I sent him on would prove profitable one day! Fantastic stuff!